Each year in the United States, there are approximately 76 million foodborne illnesses, and fresh produce is the second most common vehicle for such illnesses. Before going to market, small fruits are not washed or treated in any manner to extend their shelf life. Washing alone is not a viable option, and the use of novel technologies should be investigated. One such technology is ozone treatment, which has been used with drinking water since the late 19th century. The efficacy of gaseous ozone for killing pathogens on strawberries and raspberries, which were used as a model for small fruits, was investigated in this study. Strawberries and raspberries were artificially contaminated with five strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica. Fruits were treated with four ozone treatments: (i) continuous ozone flow (5%, wt/wt) for 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 min; (ii) pressurized ozone (83 kPa) for 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 min; (iii) continuous ozone (64 min) followed by pressurized ozone (64 min); and (iv) vacuum followed by 64 min of pressurized ozone. Maximum reductions for both strawberries and raspberries were achieved with the third treatment scenario. On strawberries, 2.60- and 2.96-log reductions were achieved for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, respectively. For raspberries, 3.55- and 3.75-log reductions were achieved for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, respectively. These results indicate that gaseous ozone should be a useful treatment for decontamination of small fruits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science